Molecule Chemical Reaction (image) National Research Council of Canada Share Print E-Mail Caption A chemical reaction follows a path that seems to a molecule like a hill it must "ski" down, as shown here. A molecule would normally react by heading down the hill towards valley B. An ultrafast laser pulse (shown here as a wiggly black arrow) re-shapes the hill as the molecule is sliding down the slope. The molecular interaction deflects the reacting molecule towards valley A rather than valley B. The breaking of the chemical bond associated with this process is illustrated on the left. The molecule does not absorb the laser light during this re-shaping. The absorption of the laser light would be equivalent to moving the molecule to a different hill instead of tilting the one it is on. This would generally lead to products other than the A or B products indicated in the figure. Credit National Research Council Canada Usage Restrictions None Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.